I’m not sure why, after more than 20 years of trying to be an environmentalist, and trying to live as sustainably as possible in the broken and destructive capitalist system we live in, I still try to read books like An Almost Zero Waste Life. Because here’s the thing: I keep hoping I’ll learn something new. Something I somehow hadn’t already learned about yet, that will help me do my part even more. And I didn’t really have that experience, but that is not the fault of the book. I’m probably not the intended audience.
I assume this book is more for those more recently interested in sustainable, low waste living. This is a lovely book, charmingly (if not sturdily) bound and illustrated, full of tips and tricks for those who are aspiring to sustainable living, but don’t have a grasp on it yet. Some of it seems very obvious. For instance, stop using disposable items, whether utensils, paper towels, facial tissues, personal care products, etc.–when you can use reusable ones instead. There’s a lot of simple recipes for cleaning and personal care products as well as food, like toothpaste and almond milk and eyeshadow and laundry powder, that look relatively easy to assemble and use. I’m especially intrigued by a facial scrub made with used coffee grounds, coconut oil, and brown sugar.
However, some of the tips, especially some of the ones involving bathroom or diaper needs–seem a little….gross and/or a hassle. Some suggestions definitely seem like the kind of tasks only someone who doesn’t work full time would have time to do regularly. There are sections about the kitchen, the bathroom, toiletries, children, pets, housekeeping, home maintenance, holidays, and various sorts of shopping. Then the book culminates with a list of 30 steps that the reader can take to attain zero waste (or close to it) living. Throughout the book the author maintains a gentle and encouraging tone. While maybe some of the goals seemed unrealistic or extremely onerous to me, I never felt berated or shamed if I didn’t try them. As the title suggests, the author admits that at best we may achieve an ALMOST zero waste life, but encourages the reader to get as close to that goal as possible.
Overall a pleasant read that would be a good resource for someone new to the subject. Be gentle with the book, though, if you get a physical copy. The presumably eco-friendly binding and cover don’t seem especially sturdy. Or, better yet, get a copy from the library, as a way to be even closer to zero waste.
Thank you to #NetGalley and Quarto Books for sharing a free #advancecopy of #AnAlmostZeroWasteLife with me. I’m sorry it took me so long to get around to reading it (thanks, pandemic reading slump!). This review is based on both the PDF advance copy I received and a physical copy I borrowed from the library.